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Son has told me he doesn’t want to visit the graveyard anymore

404 replies

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 17:38

More of a what should I do?
My mum died while I was pregnant and I was just 21. A few weeks later I had my little boy, every week since he was born we’ve visited the graveyard, every Christmas Day we’ve gone after we’ve opened presents.
He’s been brilliant, he openly talks about her and has always wanted to go see ‘ his granny ‘
He started reception in September, this week he asked me about Christmas Day, I said we will do the same as normal open presents and then go see granny with grandad. I was so so so shocked when he said he didn’t want to go anymore. I didn’t want to pressure him into questions so I kind of just brushed over it, were due to go tomorrow and I don’t know wether to or to leave it ?
What is the best way to approach this?
Obviously going to the graveyard gives me so much comfort- I can’t go on my own as I’m a single mum so finding someone to sit in with 2 little ones so I can go isn’t an option.
But I completely understand if it isn’t appealing for a 4 year old. But do I ask why? Do I encourage him to keep going or do I just leave it and take a break?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Andysbestadventure · 07/12/2019 18:31

Bit much tbh OP. We go twice a year. I don't need to go to the graves to remember my loved ones.

HavelockVetinari · 07/12/2019 18:32

Oh OP I'm so sorry for your loss Flowers

If your DS doesn't like the cemetery can you think of other ways to tell him about your mum? Her remains are not her any more, she's somewhere else, so physically being in the cemetery could be replaced by anything you like.

However, a note of caution: I was about 5 when I suddenly understood that my parents would probably die before me. I was devastated - I cried inconsolably for ages, and was incredibly clingy for several months. I vividly remember it, as do my parents. It may be that your DS has just grasped mortality and is terrified of it - your mum died early, he understands it could happen to you. If that's the case, staying away from the cemetery until he's processed it might be a good idea.

ForalltheSaints · 07/12/2019 18:33

On Christmas Day, is there not someone who would be willing to look after him on that one occasion? I can understand every week might be difficult.

HowlsMovingBungalow · 07/12/2019 18:35

@Somerville - You should complain to your local church warden. The OP post isn't about dog fouling, maybe a bit of respect is needed online too.

Vegena · 07/12/2019 18:36

I think I would do the same as you and visit weekly with my child. I think it is important.

Sorry you have gone through / are going through your lose

DDIJ · 07/12/2019 18:36

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sonjadog · 07/12/2019 18:36

I live right beside a graveyard which is as much a park for the local community as it is a graveyard. Dogs are not allowed off leads and fast cycling is not acceptable, but local people walk their dogs, let their children cycle and even sit on the grass and read a book in the summer. I think it is nice that the graveyard is a place for everyone, not somewhere the no-one ever goes except for funerals.

OneDay10 · 07/12/2019 18:36

OP I think while it is comforting for you, you have wrongly assumed that your ds feels the same way. He actually didnt know her Flowers. He has finally voiced something that was clearly bothering him for a while.

DeRigueurMortis · 07/12/2019 18:37

OP I'm so sorry you lost your mother at such a pivotal time in your life.

Like other PP's I can totally understand why you fell into this routine and the comfort it must have brought you.

It also sounds, from your posts, that these visits are far from maudlin, rather they have a multiple purpose (walking the dog, going to the park to play and paying your respects to your DM as you pass).

I can understand that you don't want to question your child further so perhaps a suggestion.

Next scheduled visit walk a different way to the park. See what he says/doesn't say.

Does he notice you've gone a different way and not visited the grave?

I think it's hard to advise atm because it's not clear what if it's the regular visits he's now uncomfortable with or specifically the idea of going on Christmas Day.

It may well be the latter (on a normal visit he goes to the park, gets buttons and lovely time with you, but at Christmas I'm guessing he just wants to be cozy at home playing with his new toys).

I think the key thing is to keep an open mind (which it seems you are doing) and perhaps view this as an opportunity for you both to move forward.

I'm not suggesting "move forward" as moving beyond grieving (sadly that doesn't happen imho) but rather in establishing new routines and ways to enjoy time with your son and still privately being able to acknowledge your mother.

It's very personal but I have found great comfort in a fruit tree I planted in the garden and can tend in memory of a loved one.

I make jam with the fruit and name the jam after the person I lost (and give jars to other family members who love it too - not just for the jam but the sentiment). I love it when it blossoms etc and enjoy sitting outside in the summer admiring it (especially if I can have "their jam" an clotted cream on scones!)

Or as others have suggested a lovely candle you can light when the kids are in bed.

Best wishes - you've been through a lot and sound like a lovely Mum x

tinkering · 07/12/2019 18:37

Hi OP,
I had similar. My brother died a year before I was born. I used to have hospital appointments close to where he was buried when I was a child. We didn’t go often, but when we did go I found it uncomfortable - the sense that Mum was sad and I couldn’t ‘help’ her because I didn’t know the person, if that makes sense? But, I wasn’t traumatised by it. I’d often leave my balloon or something behind for him.

I think, honestly, he may just be feeling a little uncomfortable - not only is he at the age where death becomes more of a concept but also he will understand your upset and not know how to process it, I think.

I don’t think I’d force him to go on Christmas Day as it might marr the day, in his mind, with grief Or upset - but that’s not to say I think what you do with him is bad. Especially if it is painted as a walk through and a quick stop to see Mum. I don’t view it as bad now, looking back, either.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:39

Thankyou so much everyone, I’ve read all the replies.
The weird thing is I perhaps would have agreed with a lot of them before this happened to me, it’s weird what we try to cling onto. And I obviously wrongly presumed I was doing the right thing.
In an ideal world I’d never be visiting a graveyard and I’d never have had to even consider the things I’ve had to consider.
It dawned on me the other day that one day my son will be old enough to google my mums name. Her death was quite widely in the papers. The stories are still online. I dread these days
I just wanted to make him happy and show him life is good. I have definitely listened to him. Thankyou

OP posts:
eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:41

I think going forward I’m going to let him lead the way. Next dog walk I’ll say let’s go this way for change ( not via graveyard ) I’ll see what he says and listen to him every step of the way Flowers

OP posts:
Londongirl86 · 07/12/2019 18:41

Can I just add!!!! I love the fact I know about my grandparents that I didn't meet. My grandad was in world war two. My grandma had 8 children with him. The stories of my dad and my brother's sharing a room and my grandma chasing them down the road for being buggers. Just so funny. I also love knowing my dad still lived at home with her when she did die. He loved her. I love the story about him getting the word mam on his arm tatooed and she said it was awful. I love how my uncles laugh and call her our mam. I was brushing my daughter's hair when she was two. My dad said If our mam was here she would be brushing that properly. It made me smile. So don't let people on here make you think she meant nothing to him so don't talk about it. She's still my grandma and would of loved me if she had got the chance to meet me. Along with all my cousin's. Your family tree is important and your son will also love your stories xx

Bluerussian · 07/12/2019 18:41

I think you could go to the cemetery on another day (or days), without your children if you can find someone to mind them - or if they're at school/nursery. It's a bit much to expect a small child to go so regularly, especially in the winter. I used to go with my mum and aunt to grandmother's grave when I was a child and I liked going there especially in the summer; the cemetery was beautiful, but it was only every couple of months or so.

You really do not have to go every week, op. It's sad that you lost your mum so young though, especially when you were pregnant. x

Reallynowdear · 07/12/2019 18:41

With kindness op, this is too much for your son.

MummytoCSJH · 07/12/2019 18:42

Hi OP. Thanks YWNBU, if it has helped you grieve, but that doesn't mean it's not time for change. My dad completed suicide when I was 6 so my son obviously never knew him, we don't go to his scatter site (cremated) but we talk about him. His date is 03 December so it's that time of year. Our Christmas star is my Dads star (bought by him when I was a baby) and DS knows that, and I sometimes tell him stories. If your DS is uncomfortable I would try to take him less, but remember it might not be about your Mum or the fact it's death/a grave at all. It's good he's been able to tell you how he feels. As others have suggested perhaps Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day you could go? Then he wouldn't have to leave his toys etc, it wouldn't put a 'downer' on the happy day as some have said, as that could be the issue especially if others at school are talking about how they spend Christmas.

Helmetbymidnight · 07/12/2019 18:43

i think you sound wonderful op.

your story has really moved me.

i dont think youve done the wrong thing at all, but it might be time for new traditions, new ways for your sweet boy while still honouring the memory of your lovely mum of course. Flowers

Salene · 07/12/2019 18:43

I think he may well find it creepy to be honest, my 5 year old wouldn't go in a graveyard recently when we visited an old one

He said it was full of dead people and he didn't want to go in

I wouldn't ask him to go again tbh.

Reallynowdear · 07/12/2019 18:45

Cross post, that's great op, you sound like a caring mother as well as a caring daughter.

At tough times the advice of strangers is invaluable.

DinoSn0re · 07/12/2019 18:45

OP, you sound like a really lovely mum.

FoamingAtTheUterus · 07/12/2019 18:46

Looking at it from a 5 year olds point of view he's being taken away from his toys on Christmas day..........and I think this is what he's trying to say. Could you go Christmas Eve or boxing day instead ??

Aridane · 07/12/2019 18:47
SweetSally · 07/12/2019 18:47


I am very sorry for your loss. You sound like a very strong woman having managed to go through all this.

Unfortunately, as they say life is for living, and I think you should focus on your two children and think of another way to honour your mother and feel comfort.

It is a very unfortunate and sad side of life but you need to be strong for your children.

eastmeanswestmum · 07/12/2019 18:47

Someone once said to me life didn’t come with a manual it came with a mother.
God I wish she was here to give me a shake! All I want now is my little boy and girl to be happy, and have me happy. I hope he does grow up and tell his children about his childhood and how id do anything for him, I want him to always look back with fond memories

OP posts:
Bluetrews25 · 07/12/2019 18:48

OP, I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your DMum is such a traumatic way at a critical time in your life.
Did you have any head space to get used to your loss properly?
Do you think now might be the time to start talking about it all with a professional?
Might help you. Flowers

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